Written by Dan Marzullo

August 27, 2020

What if we told you that your eCommerce business could grow exponentially by making one decision? 

You may be wondering if bulk SMS is the way to go for your particular eCommerce niche. Automated texts are successful across many niches. Brick and mortar businesses such as doctors’ offices and grocery stores often use text blasts to remind customers of upcoming appointments or weekly sales.

Of course, automated SMS messages are used widely in eCommerce among different types of businesses. Health and wellness, beauty, decor, and more eCommerce businesses drive sales by using bulk SMS messaging. 

Don’t let the size of your business deter you from implementing automated messages (email and SMS) in your mobile marketing strategy. Businesses of all niches and all sizes are able to find success in using a well-rounded text messaging campaign.

In this article, we’ll showcase why automated SMS messages are so great and what makes a great campaign. We will also guide you through key flows that your team should set up when using SMS marketing.

Why automated messages are so great

Texting has the best engagement rate of any marketing medium–above email and social. Businesses use automated text messages to connect with customers in a more personal way than email or social media can bring. 

It’s hard to know what to expect when you go into your first automated text messaging campaign. Don’t shy away, though. The world of text messaging automation is incredibly viable.

The demand for text blasts is there:

  • 66% prefer SMS to phone or email.
  • 74% of consumers report having zero unread texts, and only 4% report having seven or more unread texts.

Text messaging automation is effective:

automated text

The power of implementing automated text messages in a marketing strategy can help your eCommerce business:

  • Generate new leads
  • Nudge customers on abandoned carts
  • Keep existing customers
  • Promote new products
  • Alert customers of restocked items
  • Push for post-purchase reviews
  • Share news and upcoming sales
  • Incentivize customers to purchase

Automated text messages in eCommerce allow businesses to tailor communication to people based on their behavior or exactly where they are in the funnel, resulting in higher conversion rates and retention. Although it’s impossible to create an individualized text message marketing campaign for each user, there are criteria that your team can set to get as close as possible:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location
  • Past Search/Purchase History
  • Personal Preferences & more

If you choose to create a drip campaign for your SMS strategy then you will have more options for personalization. A drip campaign can be based on how many times a person has shopped with you, how long they have been a customer, if they’re engaging with your brand via SMS or email campaigns, etc.

How does text message marketing work?

How well do you know your customers? Text message marketing helps to fill in the gaps of what you may not realize or fully understand your target audience. One thing that text message marketing shows us is that customers appreciate the convenience of checking texts over emails and they also engage more with brands that opt into creating a text marketing strategy.

SMS Marketing is measurable and allows your business to review messages sent, how many messages were delivered, and keyword responses and conversations. A business can also view how many promotions are redeemed if the promotion has a code used only in your texting campaign. After every SMS campaign, you should evaluate your strategy and plan for future campaigns based on what went well and what needs to be improved.

A text blast campaign looks great on paper, but how does it work?

text blast

Keywords and Short code

The key parts of a text message marketing campaign are the keywords and short codes. There are so many SMS marketing examples, but one common one is Text “SUMMER” to 777777 to see the fro-yo flavor each week!” The keyword here is ‘Summer’ and the ‘777777’ is the short code that lands in the recipient box. This automatically enrolls the customer into receiving text messages from the company.

Sequencing

From there, you have a couple of options. Create an automated text message that goes out to customers as soon as they sign up (i.e. “Thanks for joining in!”). This is a great opportunity to give customers a discount code toward their next purchase. You could also choose the route of adding the customer to the subscriber’s list and have a text go out with the next sequence. 

Opt-In/Opt-Out

Customers that opt into text messages online via a contact form will have to be confirmed before being added to your campaign. For example, a text that goes out upon online signup may be “Reply YES to confirm or NO to opt-out”. It’s vital that you establish the customer’s consent before adding them and provide ample opportunities for them to opt-out of texts if they want to.

Drip Campaigns

Once the customer has confirmed their consent to opt-in to text blasts, then they will be added to your campaign. Creating a drip campaign is a great way to reach customers that are in various stages of their journey with your business.

Potential customers, new customers, and vetted customers can all be part of your overarching campaign while getting personalized messages that are relevant to them. Creating triggers and tailored responses will help your campaign distinguish which customers are sent which coupons, etc.

bulk sms

How to kick off your automated SMS campaign

How do you get the text flow…well, flowing? Creating a successful automated SMS campaign is just a matter of getting started. The process is straightforward and provides a lot of flexibility for those businesses new to automated texts. Hiring a professional SMS messaging agency to consult with as you get started is a great idea. 

There are five simple steps to get your automated text campaign off the ground.

1. Sign up for an automated text messaging service

There are a lot of texting services out there. We’re partial to what we do here at ManyChat. If you’re looking to start your SMS marketing campaign then reach out today and ask about our SMS and email automation. 

2. Upload your registered contacts

Again, make sure they’ve all consented to receive texts. Watch video tutorials that the text messaging service you signed up with provided. They’re going to help you get all of the contacts uploaded so that nobody is left behind. Until you’re comfortable with the software, keep the videos on hand.

3. Build your list using those keywords and shortcodes

Create the keyword and shortcode that you want your campaign to kick off with. Keywords should be memorable and easy for customers to replicate. Like we mentioned above, this is how they will opt into texts.

4. Create your text message

Many text messaging services will provide you with templates and a live replica of what your texts will look like on a mobile phone screen. This allows you to recognize any sizing errors with GIFS, photos, and text. Texts should be direct and concise. Remember to have a clear call to action in each text.

5. Schedule and send automated texts

Timing is everything. You will want to set up in the service when you want texts to go out and how often. Plan ahead for holidays, promos, and fun days that are reserved (National Taco Day) and establish when to nudge customers that have been sent a coupon, but haven’t cashed in. 

Key Takeaways

The power of automated text messages in eCommerce is undeniable. ManyChat has known for a while that SMS campaigns are the way forward! Now, we’re stoked that the stats are proving us right. Your eCommerce business doesn’t have to wonder “what if?” when it comes to implementing your own SMS campaign. You’re really set up for success before you even begin. 

There is an overwhelming amount of statistics pointing to automated text campaigns being what customers prefer and what they respond most to. You already have a captive audience. When you set out to make your campaign, be sure to go with a texting service that can take on a load of customers, time demands, and marketing strategy that you have in mind.

Make opt-ins a clear consent process for customers. Once opt-ins are made and contacts are uploaded, then it is time to create your drip campaign. Timing is vital. Don’t send texts too often and don’t ghost customers. You will be able to draw a lot of insight from drip campaigns and know how to adjust your strategy. 

We heard you may be looking for an expert on the matter. We’re ready to chat!